My wooden puerh humidor builing adventure


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Postby Proinsias » Jul 18th, '08, 11:05

I hope they enjoy the new home, good work shogun89.

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Postby henley » Jul 18th, '08, 11:10

shogun89 wrote:I am very happy to report that the humidity in the "puidor" stayed at a constant 75% all night, that means that the pu can move in!!!!!!!!!! and the build was a success!!
:D :D :D :D

Congratulations!!!

Though I don't care for pu, it's been interesting reading about your project. Glad the "puidor" was a success. Now hurry & get it patented before someone beats you to it!
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Postby shogun89 » Jul 18th, '08, 14:09

Thanks for the congrats everyone! thanks for the picture proinsias, it is very appropriate.

Ti, during your build if you have any questions ask, I will be happy to help you build you puidor. Hope everything works well for you.
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Postby Ti » Jul 18th, '08, 16:17

shogun89 wrote:Thanks for the congrats everyone! thanks for the picture proinsias, it is very appropriate.

Ti, during your build if you have any questions ask, I will be happy to help you build you puidor. Hope everything works well for you.


Thanks shogun89. Hopefully I will be able to get moving on my version of pumidor this weekend.

Did the pu move in yet?
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Postby shogun89 » Jul 18th, '08, 16:29

The pu were entered in to their new home today. Hope they like it!
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Postby Smells_Familiar » Jul 19th, '08, 01:15

Congratumofreakin'lations shotgun! What a nice box you have there! lol
Hey, could you post pics of it filled with pu?
I look forward to pics of your baby too Ti!
Once I build mine I'll post some pics on this thread.

cheers people
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Postby shogun89 » Jul 19th, '08, 10:55

the cakes moved in yesterday and they are living in exactly 70% humidity. I'll get a picture of them in the home but not until Monday (still testing the efficiency of the puidor. I'm not going to open it until Monday then read the gauge.
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my ghetto puidor

Postby Dizzwave » Jul 22nd, '08, 13:19

Hey all,
Thanks to these posts, I finally decided it would be worth it to buy a hygrometer. After some deliberation, I went with the Caliber III (from Western, available on Amazon for ~$25 shipped). I've been keeping my cakes in sort of a cupboard.. well, I think the thing was meant to be some sort of entertainment center.. but basically a wooden monstrosity that belongs to my landlady and isn't being used for much.
I live in Portland, which has a pretty high average RH. But after reading that 50-60% won't really age your tea, I thought it would be well worth trying to get up to 70-80%. (Supposedly, the RH here *outdoors* during the rainy season (which is anytime but summer) is at least 80, but it seems to have been in the 20-50 range the past few weeks. I'm not sure what it is indoors during the rains, but I want to control it, of course!)
For a few days, I played around with putting some big pans of water in there along with the cakes, but the RH was only slightly higher than that in the rest of the house (55-ish). So, inspired by shogun89's sponge, and Wesli's and others' "Medusa" method, last night I tried putting a couple of wet washcloths in the cupboard, sorta draping them across one of the water pans. This morning I checked the hygrometer: 78%!! With a max somewhere in the night of 81%!
My theory (and please feel free to debunk it) is that the washcloth (or sponge) has LOTS of surface area -- not just the square foot that you see, but each of those thousands of tiny niblets that make up the cloth is offering up a drop of moisture. Much like the perimeter of Ireland or something -- it's infinite when you get down to it.
My worry was that this cupboard (or whatever you call it) is not airtight, and thus it would try to equilibriate (sic?) the moisture to the outside world.. but apparently it's airtight enough.
Besides the obvious/intended benefit of aging the tea more better, another (more immediate) perk of this added moisture is the delicious smell. For those of you who haven't built/found your puidors yet, I urge you to use one that's big enough to stick your head into! :) (It's the first thing I do every morning.)
Ok... Hopefully the 78% thing wasn't a fluke. I shall keep you posted.
btw, shogun, thanks for spurring this on, and your puidor is a beaut!
-dave
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Postby tenuki » Jul 22nd, '08, 14:51

I have a Omega temp/rh USB Datalogger I got for my piano. You set it up with software and it samples and stores data at the rate you configure, which you can later download to your computer via USB. Very very handy and relatively inexpensive considering.. Mine just ran out of battery after almost two years of faithful service, and the battery is easy to replace. Just thought I would throw that out there if you are interested in having a complete log of your temp/rh. :)
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Postby shogun89 » Jul 22nd, '08, 17:03

Hi Dave,
I'm glad to hear that you too are working on a puidor too. First of all that smell you talk about truly is amazing isn't it. My pu blended beautifully with the subtle scents of the wood to make a truly mouth watering smell. Your theory about the rags and sponges is dead on, Think of a tiki torch the wick. . . well, wicks the water up to the fire in this case the air is the fire. Water evaporates at a MUCH FASTER rate when it has a "wick". You mentioned how your cabinet is not air tight, thats GOOD. Having an airtight container could lead to mold due to water condensing. My puidor actually have a semi warped door so at the corner where it should contact the side there is a slight gap. This obviously does cause a loss of humidity but not enough. I'm holding steady at 67% right and thats just because the tea is still soaking up all available moisture, so I expect to see 80% by the end of the week, if not another humidity tray will be added. To let the cakes breathe and receive new oxygen I am going to open it once for about 5 min. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or everyday depending on how fast I can make humidity. Well anyway, any questions you have fell free to ask. Thanks for the compliments, I really appreciate it. Good luck with your puidor and keep me posted.
-Dallas
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Postby Salsero » Jul 22nd, '08, 19:20

Sounds like you guys are on the yellow brick road to puerh storage. Thanks for keeping us up to date.
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Postby Dizzwave » Jul 23rd, '08, 12:08

shogun89 wrote:Water evaporates at a MUCH FASTER rate when it has a "wick". You mentioned how your cabinet is not air tight, thats GOOD.

Hi Dallas, thanks for the confirmation on the "wick" thing... cool example about the tiki torch. And about the fresh air, I'm sure you're right about that.
An update on mine: for the past day, my pumidor's RH seems to be hanging in the low 60s. Hopefully that's because the tea is soaking it all up, as you said, and not just because I moved the hygrometer a little bit further from the wet rag. (Now it's sitting on top of a stack of cakes.) I don't *think* that moving the hygrometer was the only difference, because when I stuck my head in there yesterday morning (when it read 78%), it reminded me of visiting Houston (except for the smell :). This morning when I stuck my head in, it was definitely dryer. Anyway, I threw in a wet sponge (in addition to the two wet rags that were already in there) for good measure.
Patience, patience...... :) And once we have this all figured out, then comes the easy part: waiting 5-10-20 years!
-dave
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Postby shogun89 » Jul 23rd, '08, 21:24

Dave,
I dont know whether your cabinet permits you to due this or not but if the wood inside has no finish, wipe the wood with a damp sponge. This will fill the wood with moisture much quicker than it would by just letting the water evaporate into the wood. Type in "seasoning a humidor" on Google, that will tell you more detailed instructions. Mine is still holing at 64% but that because the tea is absorbing it. For your "wicking material" I suggest getting the floral sponge because it is like a micro sponge material allowing more water to soak in and evaporate. Also I recommend using distilled water ($0.79 per gallon) as it does not contain minerals that will clog up the pores of the sponge, and it is less likely to grow mold on the sponge. Another thing to help boost your humidity is keep the door shut, I know its hard but you should only open it about every 2 days.
Let the waiting begin!
-Dallas
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Postby Dizzwave » Jul 25th, '08, 11:25

shogun89 wrote:you should only open it about every 2 days.

That's too much to ask! :lol:
But thanks for the advice -- I'll look for a floral sponge, and I'll switch to distilled water. I don't think I want to dampen the wood though.. It looks like it's already "finished" so I'm not going to worry about it. Plus it still belongs to my landlady. :)

When I came home from work the day before yesterday, I was pleased to see the hygrometer reading at 79%.. but displeased to see fruit flies buzzing around the cabinet. Apparently my wife had been looking for a sweater (yes -- the pumidor was recently used as a clothes chest, but no longer!) and left the door open a couple inches. Luckily, they haven't come back in the past couple days, with the door shut. (I was worried that they might sneak in anyway -- like I said, it's not exactly airtight. And I can't blame the little bugs.. that's where I'd buzz around, were I one of them.)

Anyway, it's still fluctuating. Yesterday during the day, it was mostly in the 60%s. Last night, it was in the mid-70s. We'll see what happens as the tea continues to soak up more moisture...
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Postby Salsero » Jul 25th, '08, 13:35

Ti wrote:In place of a sponge I'm going to use that green foam they use at florist shops that they stick flowers in when they make arrangements. I know a girl who gets me some when I need it. Thats the stuff they use in a lot of cigar humidors and I've been using it for years. It's very tiny open cell foam that holds a lot of water so you don't have to worry so much about water splashing around and inadvertently making tea. Comes in a block and you cut it whatever size you want.


Dizzwave wrote: But thanks for the advice -- I'll look for a floral sponge, and I'll switch to distilled water ... displeased to see fruit flies buzzing around the cabinet.
... We'll see what happens as the tea continues to soak up more moisture...


This is all very exciting. My own set up is closer to Dizzwave's than Ti's gorgeous handmade box.

For a few months I was using those absorbent crystals that gardeners sometimes mixed with dirt to make it more water absorbent. I got the idea from the long Puerh LJ thread about storage and aging. Like Ti I was worried about spills and like Dizzwave I felt they dramatically increased the surface area of the water.

Unfortunately, at least in my case, they started growing furry mold in various colors whether I used distilled water or tap water. The mold seemed to grow faster each time I dumped it and replaced it with fresh crystals and water. That's why I switched to plain tap water which looks OK for at least a month.

But I would still like something with more surface area, however, and less likely to spill, so the floral sponge caught my interest, esp since I have several blocks of it that have been sitting around for years. BTW, you can get the stuff at any florist's and it is really cheap.

I can't imagine that the flies would have any interest in the puerh, esp not fruitflies, but their continued presence would be worrying.
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